By Heinreich T. Sioson
Hello my fellow dungeon crawlers! Enjoying your time vanquishing the infernal denizens of the Diablo III world? I know I am! I am currently a Level 23 Demon Hunter and I thought I’d take a break from terrorizing evildoers and give you a few strategies on how to survive as the Demon Hunter up to the first 20 levels or so. First, you should know that the Demon Hunter uses two resources for their skills called Hatred and Discipline. Hatred is used for attack/combat skills and generates quickly – in fact your very first attack, Hungering Arrow, actually generates Hatred. Discipline recharges much more slowly and is used for support/tactical skills. Now without further ado, here’s what you should keep in mind when playing as a Demon Hunter:
- The Demon Hunter is a long-ranged fighter so treat them as such. You should be playing a long-range game with the Demon Hunter and a grand majority of their skills are perfect for it. They are NOT designed to engage in close-quarter combat; that is what your A.I. partner – which you will get later on – is used for. While your partner tanks you can rain arrows and skills from afar.
- Use Hungering Arrow. Though a starting skill, it is VERY useful and will most likely be your mainstay attack for a while. It generates 3 Hatred per shot and can seek out targets for 114% damage with a 35% chance to pierce through enemies and go on to hit another. At Level 6 you get the Puncturing Arrow Skill Rune which increases the pierce chance to 50% but I didn’t find that as useful as Cinder Arrow (unlocked at Level 17), which adds Fire damage to your shots for an additional 35% weapon damage over 3 seconds.
- Use Caltrops and Vault in conjunction with one another. Many enemies will gladly run up to you but by placing Caltrops as they come up to you you’ll be able to slow enemies down by 60% for 6 seconds. At Level 12 you get the Hooked Spines Skill Rune which increases enemy slowdown to 80%. Once they’ve sprung the trap, you can Vault safely away from the area and fire away. Keep the Entangling Shot skill as your second attack and you’ll be able to keep them away from you for even longer.
- Use Spike Traps. The moment you get Spike Traps slot it immediately. You can place them in any part of the ground you can see onscreen so you can place them nearby as a trap for melee attackers or near enemies that have been slowed down by the Caltrops/Entangling Shot combo. Be careful though, it takes 1.2 seconds to arm. This is an excellent skill to use to whittle away at the tougher enemies and even outright kill the weaker ones.
- Use Marked for Death. When you mark an enemy they take an additional 12% damage for 30 seconds. This is another skill that should be immediately slotted since you are going to need this to face off against the more rarer enemies and bosses.
- High Dexterity is key. Again, you need to play long range so always try to go for armor and accessories that give you Dexterity bonuses over everything else. Dex increases the damage capabilities of the Demon Hunter so keep that very much in mind as you pick what equipment to use.
- Utilize the strengths of your Passive Skills. At Level 10 you get Thrill of the Hunt which allows you to stop enemies for 3 seconds. This is automatically activated every 10 seconds. At Level 16 you get Steady Aim which increases all damage you deal by 20% provided no enemy is within 10 yards of you. Remember, playing long-range is the plan and this skill capitalizes on that strategy. Next comes Cull of the Weak at Level 20. This increases damage to slowed enemies by 15%. Caltrops + Entangling Shot + Cull of the Weak = lots of damage! Since you can only have two Passive Skills equipped at this point I recommend replacing Thrill of the Hunt with Cull of the Weak. While the effect of TotH happens every 10 seconds, CotW is on all the time which makes it the better choice.
As with all things, your personal preference and on how to play Diablo III and enjoyment is all that matters. But remember these tips if you’re having a little trouble learning how to play as the Demon Hunter.
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